Start Tutoring From Home

Translating Your Teaching Skills Into Tutoring Success

A tutor smiles while teaching a young student at a desk

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Starting a tutoring business in addition to classroom teaching works well for part-time teachers. With plenty of time and sanity left for a few hours of one-on-one tutoring in the afternoons or weekends, tutors can enrich lives and bank accounts. If you have the availability to add more duties to your schedule, consider taking on additional pupils by planning and implementing a tutoring business plan. On the other hand, it is not recommended for full-time teachers to take on even more responsibilities. You need time for yourself, away from other people's children.

Think of the Big Picture

What subjects are you qualified to teach? How can you prove to prospective clients that you have the knowledge and experience for these subjects? If there is a high demand for high school math tutors in your area and you are competent and comfortable teaching Algebra and Geometry, you will have no trouble finding clients. However, if you're rusty on popular subjects in your area, take time to brush up. You'll probably only have to cram briefly before you're back on track to tutor that subject for the foreseeable future. Once you've figured out the time, place, and rate, you need to formulate a lesson plan for one-on-one sessions.

Figure Out Hourly Rates

Do some precise market research to see how much other tutors in your area charge. Don’t sell yourself short, and be careful about compromising and lowering your rate once it's set. Introductory discounts to land your first clients may lock you into too low of a rate that isn't worth your while when you're established. Plus, no matter what feels comfortable and fair, you're likely to lose potential clients to complaints about your high prices. Know your worth, and don't let unreasonable frugality bother you. If you research properly, you shouldn’t have to lower your rates at all.

Consider Possible Clients

What age group would you like to work with? You’ll also want to decide on a reasonable radius from your home that you’d be willing to accept clients from. Consider traffic and geography, or you'll make the mistake of accepting a client who lives a twenty miles away, on the freeway in both directions. Not ideal, by any means. If you're just starting out, desperate, or simply not prepared, you could be caught off-guard and agree to something that's not worth the agreed hourly rate. Optimally, you would only accept clients in your immediate vicinity.

Marketing Techniques

Think about the best way to reach your target audience. Some of the options include:

  • Flyers with tabs on the neighborhood mailboxes
  • Flyer delivery service to your target area
  • Post on Craigslist
  • Sign up for an online tutoring referral service
  • Put up flyers in the community, or put them in local mailboxes
  • Advertise in community publications
  • Send a letter and business cards to guidance counselors at local schools

One of the best things about tutoring is that there's very little start-up cost. As your client list grows, word-of-mouth will be your best way to gain new clients. Collect reference letters from long-term clients to build up your reputation as a trusted neighborhood tutor.

The Nitty-Gritty of Where and When 

Will you travel to clients' houses, host your students at home, or meet at the library? Ideally, your clients always arrive neatly and promptly on your doorstep, ready to learn. However, if when starting out, you probably won’t be able to demand such a thing. As you build your resume and references, perhaps this idea can become a reality. Tutoring from home requires a very clean and distraction-free space, which makes your tutoring sessions more productive and appeals to parents with chaotic homes. As for when, be realistic about how much time you need to transition between appointments or accommodate off-the-clock interactions, and how many hours you can feasibly cover in one afternoon.